Sunday, July 20, 2008

Team GB? More like Team England with a Scottish manager

One of the most interesting headlines to come out of today’s newspapers was the story that head of the London 2012 committee Sebastian Coe has offered the job Team Great Britain’s football coach to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Now the idea of having a Great British football team has long been suggested but the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Football Associations feel the idea would threaten their independence within Fifa. I think what they are really afraid is having none of their players chosen for the squad.

Team GB? More like Team England with a Scottish manager.


As you may know the tournament is for mainly U23 players but each side can include three senior players of their choosing. Now in my eyes I couldn't think of any U23 Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish that would do better than the English players you can get. As for the senior players well in the past many would have said Ryan Giggs but now he has retired from international football you can discount the Welsh Wizard. Now I know that in four years time things could be very different to what they are now and we could have plenty of young Scottish or Welsh players filling up the ranks of professional football.

However if the British Olympic Association (BOA) had entered a team for this years Olympics you would have to admit that the dominant nationality in the squad would be English. Taking a brief look at the last England U21 team to represent the country last time out, ironically they beat Wales 2-0, and I think you’d say that at least seven players would get into any Olympic squad at this moment in time. I mean would you really leave out Gabriel Agbonlahor or Theo Walcott for David Cotterill or Sam Vokes? To beat on how these players get on next season here are the football odds.

Looking towards the future and you’d think that even four years into the future those three players of any age who could be chosen would be English. Wayne Rooney should still be around then and could you really over look him for Kenny Miller or David Healy for the striker’s position? Now it shouldn’t be overlooked that the English FA has more money to spend and have a bigger pool of potential players to draw from. With the Olympics costing as much as they will it looks doubtful that the BOA will be able to provide that much money for each nation to develop players.

In fact all the money that the BOA will set aside may well end up paying for Sir Alex Ferguson to take charge of the squad because he won’t come cheap you’d think. Ferguson would be an excellent appointment as head coach but how much involvement will he have in actually developing the players that might represent Great Britain? If the Manchester United chief is to retire in three years then that will give him just a year to develop a young bunch of players which might not be enough time when you consider how much time the players will spend at their clubs.

When you think that the players will spend the rest of the time with their national side’s as it will be a European Championship year. The idea of having a Great Britain football dream is a pipe dream, the move to establish one just for the London Olympics will be an impractical one that on paper will ultimately fail. The idea of having a team that everyone can get behind does sound great but there are bound to be nations left out as I have stated earlier meaning that you are likely to lose that demographic of your support.

As much as I want to support this idea it seems that it will be more trouble than it is worth and you’d imagine that it would spark a great club against country debt with many of the Premier League’s top players missing for the start of the season. In fact perhaps Fifa president Sepp Blatter was right for once, shouldn’t they just enter a team with just England players in it to avoid a lot of the arguments that would take place.

If the BOA do decide to press on with a GB football team then you’d imagine that they will create more trouble than the team is actually worth.

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